Above from left: Constable Adrianne Humen, Constable Wynette Tailfeathers, Alexander First Nation community member and school principal Cory Arcand, and Constable Taylor Lywood. – Submitted Photos
by Stephen Dafoe
Thursday was a special day at the Morinville RCMP Detachment and an important step toward reconciliation. The Detachment held a ceremony to launch the Eagle Feather Protocol. The initiative will see eagle feathers distributed to all Alberta RCMP detachments, providing victims, witnesses, suspects, and police officers the option to swear legal oaths on an eagle feather.
“The eagle feather will be used the same way as the Bible or affirmation is currently used,” said Morinville RCMP Constable Wynette Tailfeather. “When someone provides a sworn statement to the RCMP, they will be given three options: to swear on a Bible, affirm, or affirm with an eagle feather. This means that a sworn statement given by any of these three methods is evidence that can be used in a court of law. It also means that a police officer will be able to use the eagle feather to swear information before the court. Additionally, the eagle feather may also be offered as a comfort for anyone who wishes when they are at the Detachment.”
In indigenous culture, the eagle is sacred. Because eagles soar the highest, they are seen as being close to the creator. The eagle also symbolizes courage, strength and wisdom.
A certificate with the Eagle Feather reads, “In Native culture, the eagle is considered the strongest and bravest of all birds. For this reason, its feathers symbolize what is highest, bravest, strongest, and holiest. An eagle’s feathers are given to another in honour, and the feathers are displayed with dignity and pride.”
With the Eagle Feather now at the Morinville RCMP Detachment, anyone who requests the eagle feather will be able to do so.
Present for Thursday’s ceremony were Constable Taylor Lywood, Constable Adrianne Humen, Constable Wynette Tailfeathers, RCMP K Division Elder Advisor Tony Arcand and Alexander community member and School Principal cory Arcand. Also in attendance were RCMP office staff and Sturgeon Victim Services.
Alexander First Nation Elder Tony Arcand gave a prayer and blessing of the Eagle Feather and Detachment. Cory Arcand sang a Traditional Honour Song to welcome the Eagle Feather to its new home at the Morinville RCMP Detachment.
Constable Tailfeathers, who attended the ceremony in a ribbon skirt, stressed the importance of the initiative.
“Having Eagle Feathers available at detachments is an important step in the reconciliation efforts we are engaged in with our Indigenous communities,” Constable Tailfeathers said.
From left: Constable Adrianne Humen, Constable Wynette Tailfeathers,
and Constable Taylor Lywood. – Submitted Photo
Alexander First Nation Elder Tony Arcand [red hat] gave a prayer and blessing of the Eagle Feather and Detachment. – Submitted Photo
The Morinville RCMP Detachment’s Eagle Feather and Certificate explaining the importance of the Eagle Feather in Indigenous culture. – Submitted Photo